Polat Urundul is studying International Relations and European Studies at the University of Portsmouth and works for Conservative Friends of Turkey.
The Turkish Community is one of the most important resident groups in London. Though they live in many different parts of the city, Turks created their neighbourhoods mostly in North London.
In the London Mayoral Election 2016, Turks will play a crucial role for the future of the city. Even though they have been inclined to vote Labour in the past, Zac Goldsmith has a capability to change their decisions. Firstly, Zac Goldmisth has a big team consisting of people from many different ethnic origins, including Turks.
It should be remembered that Zac does not like ethnic politics. He blamed his rival Sadiq Khan for playing the race card. He also mentioned in Ickenham that he won’t propose policies for different ethnic groups in London because he sees Londoners as a whole.
Turks’ voting inclination is changing. They are mostly first or second generation immigrants living with other immigrants in North London. However, they are becoming more and more integrated into London society and some of them are becoming even more Conservative than many life-long Tories.
Why do some Turks think of voting Khan?
Apart from Labour’s expedient policies on ethnic groups, Turks have nothing common with Sadiq Khan. Some Turks support Khan because of his background. Khan is a Muslim and he comes from an immigrant background like Turks do.
Why they should not vote Khan
Khan is a candidate of the party that invaded Iraq. Furthermore, religion can not be the decisive thing while voting. Most Turks who vote Labour are inclined to vote for Conservative or religious parties when they are in Turkey. Voting for a party which has a Marxist leader like Jeremy Corbyn can not be appropriate for Turks. Most Turkish people do not like extremism. It is certain that Corbyn’s new Labour Party will be a threat to Turkish values and beliefs. Corbyn’s ideas on security and his intentions to open channels for talks with ISIS is another risk for the Turkish electorate. Khan’s politics can not be considered regardless of his leader because he has proved to be excessively loyal to his party leader in the past.
Why should Turks vote Tory?
There is a common belief in Turkish politics. Once you lose Istanbul, you lose the country. It has always been so. I think the case of London is not different in Britain. Turks should not let Labour take over London. Because its policies may harm Turkish values in return. Corbyn is famous with his intimacy with radicals in the Middle East. Furthermore, his ideology may destroy the relations between Britain and Turkey. The PKK terrorist group is a far left, socialist organisation. In addition to Corbyn’s ties with radicals in the area, his far left ideology may bring PKK and the Labour Party together. Therefore, it may create a crisis between Turkey and United Kingdom.
However, it is known that Tories have always backed Turkey in international politics. Whenever Tories are in charge, the relationship between the United Kingdom and Turkey is better. It is not only about the relations between two countries. Conservative politicians are also more friendly towards the Turkish community. Boris Johnson’s background is Ottoman and he did a great job in London. He and MPs in London supported campaigns in favour of A-Level exams in Turkish.
Boris Johnson always helped Turks and people from other backgrounds without any discrimination or bias.
Finally, Conservatives nominated two Turkish candidates in the 2015 general election. Gonul Daniels and Isabel Sigmac were Conservatives parliamantary candidates in 2015. They are currently working on Zac Goldsmith’s election campaign in the North London.
How can Turks benefit from Zac’s projects?
Housing and security are the most important issues for Turkish Londoners.
Turks have always suffered from security problems in their neighbourhoods. Drug trade and violence were big problems for North Londoners. Thanks to Boris Johnson, streets of the North London are safer now. But London needs more progress.
Zac’s plan is to make London safer by doubling the number of police officers and keeping them on the street. Home ownership is the most important thing for a Turkish person. Zac’s plans for housing is doubling home building to 50,000 when he is in charge. He also wants to give Londoners priority to buy new homes built in London. Affordable, good-quality housing is key for Zac as well.
The London Mayoral Election 2016 is a good chance for Turkish Londoners to live better and make their voice heard.
Zac Goldsmith is the only man who can keep up what Boris Johnson did in the last 8 years and he is much more capable than Sadiq Khan. As he did in the last general election, Zac will increase Tories’ votes in London in May and provide a better life for all Londoners including Turks.